In pursuit of the unknown : 17 equations that changed the world
- Stewart, Ian, 1945-
- New York : Basic Books, 2013.
- Physical description
- x, 342 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
QA21 .S834 2013
- Unknown QA21 .S834 2013
- Includes bibliographical references (p. -330) and index.
- Why equations?
- The squaw on the hippopotamus: Pythagoras's theorem
- Shortening the proceedings: logarithms
- Ghosts of departed quantities: calculus
- The system of the world: Newton's law of gravity
- Portent of the ideal world: the square root of minus one
- Much ado about knotting: Euler's formula for polyhedra
- Patterns of chance: normal distribution
- Good vibrations: wave equation
- Ripples and blips: Fourier transform
- The ascent of humanity: Navier-Stokes equation
- Waves in the ether: Maxwell's equations
- Law and disorder: second law of thermodynamics
- One thing is absolute: relativity
- Quantum weirdness: Schrödinger's equation
- Codes, communications, and computers: information theory
- The imbalance of nature: chaos theory
- The Midas formula: Black-Scholes equation
- Where next?
- Publisher's Summary
- Most people are familiar with history's great equations: Newton's Law of Gravity, for instance, or Einstein's theory of relativity. But the way these mathematical breakthroughs have contributed to human progress is seldom appreciated. In In Pursuit of the Unknown, celebrated mathematician Ian Stewart untangles the roots of our most important mathematical statements to show that equations have long been a driving force behind nearly every aspect of our lives. Using seventeen of our most crucial equations--including the Wave Equation that allowed engineers to measure a building's response to earthquakes, saving countless lives, and the Black-Scholes model, used by bankers to track the price of financial derivatives over time--Stewart illustrates that many of the advances we now take for granted were made possible by mathematical discoveries. An approachable, lively, and informative guide to the mathematical building blocks of modern life, In Pursuit of the Unknown is a penetrating exploration of how we have also used equations to make sense of, and in turn influence, our world.
(source: Nielsen Book Data)
- Publication date
- Ian Stewart.
- Title Variation
- 17 equations that changed the world